In the five years I worked in the kitchen at Rundles, Jim Morris, the owner, had a Saturday morning ritual I admired as a young cook.
This story involves the dumpster.
Before I go further, elegant is a word I'd use to describe Jim.
Rundles had a downtown location in Stratford and shared a back alleyway with local businesses and condo dwellers. Jim was conscious of his neighbours and meticulous about caring for his property.
Saturday mornings in the summer, the garbage truck would make one of its bi-weekly visits. Before we got busy filling it up again, Jim, dressed in stylish grubby clothes, filled a 16L pail with hot soapy water and bleach. Then, he grabbed a designated long-handled brush.
He climbed into the dumpster to scrub away the putrid puddle of liquid decay on the bottom. A cloud of flies rose, buzzing with outrage at the invasion.
Every. Saturday. Morning.
I used to fantasise about making an educational video called, 'So you want to own a restaurant.' You can guess the opening scene.
I never heard him complain once. It sends a powerful message to young employees when the owner assumes responsibility for the worst job in the restaurant.
Thinking of all my friends in restaurants across the country at all stages of throwing the doors open.
Imagining solid gold talent bussing tables, training new employees to hustle, spraying dirty dishes down, and running the numbers on a plumbing repair.
I'm with you in spirit.
And I speak for many when I say.
We missed you like crazy and can't wait until our knees are under your tables.
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